Thompson: Edu-Philanthropy's Unintended Threat to Public Education
Sarah Reckhow's recent TWIE post, Philanthropy Critique Can Obscure Key Differences reviews her research findings on the growing "convergence" of edu-philanthropy and her concerns about the consequences of the coordination of their efforts.
Among other things, Reckhow worries that "policy priorities of major philanthropists are not well supported by research." But she also warns against critiques of philanthropists that she believes verge on conspiracy theories and makes the important distinction between debating whether big donors are pursuing the wrong policies or whether their secrecy and money "pose threats to democracy."
I welcome a debate over the effectiveness of the "Billionaires Boys Club's" policies. They've got the money, while their opponents have the preponderance of evidence.
I don't believe that today's philanthropists began with a plan to privatize schools. But intentions don't matter much. The "Best and the Brightest" did not have any intention of getting the United States trapped in the Vietnam quagmire. They did not rely on primitive and inaccurate "body count" metrics because they were evil. The tragedy was primarily a result of hubris, rather than intent. That same sort of elite pridefulness poses a similar threat to public schools. Intended or not, philanthropy-funded reform efforts pose a threat to democratic governance of schools. - JT (@drjohnthompson) Image via.